Sunday, December 18, 2011

Minerva Is On The Canvas

I have placed a preliminary layout of my Minerva painting on the Linen canvas I stretched recently. I will begin the background as soon as I finish up a portrait commission that just came my way. Its not a big portrait, but all the same a real challenge. I will be working from a large black and white photo from the 60's. Until it is finished, I won't be working on any of my personal pieces.

Oh, and since it's Christmas and my gallery is closing shortly anyway, I decided to take a long holiday this year. I will be back in the gallery after the New Year. Merry Christmas to All!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Painting Surfaces

The Fed Ex guy delivered my new 10 yard roll of Oil Primed Belgian Linen yesterday. Nothing on the planet compares to a newly stretched Belgian Linen surface. I have used many many surfaces over the years (including a stint as a faux finisher, painting walls and murals) and I always come back to oil primed linen. It costs more than twice the price of acrylic primed cotton duck, but it is so superior in longevity and feel. I must admit I hate the first layer that takes forever to go on and seems to slip right off, but when I get into the guts of the painting, WOW, what a difference from other surfaces. Lately, I have been trying a technique learned at the IMC last summer. Taking a drawing to Staples and having them copy it onto a paper used for blueprint copies by homebuilders. After affixing the copy to a masonite board, I give it numerous coats of Acrylic Gel Medium to protect the copy (from my original drawing, not a photograph, EEEEWWWWW) and prepare the surface for painting. When dry, I can paint in oils or acrylics over it. And, I still have my original drawing to be framed later or just saved for posterity. But, I have found that it seems this surface sucks all the oils from my paints and it may just be my mind, but the colors seem flat to me and I keep trying to punch them up. Anyway, oil primed linen has a wonderful smell also, unlike acrylic primes which have no smell. This morning, my studio smells so good, I just want to go right to work on something. Guess I will stretch that canvas this evening when I get in from the gallery/studio in little Washington. Now, Go Paint!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Composition Changes & Overlapping

Well, Minerva has gone through a major change. Rodin's The Thinker has now been moved to be behind Minerva and I inserted an easel on the left of the picture. I was watching TV last night after dinner and looked over to the fireplace where I will place works in progress for evaluation purposes. The first thing I noticed was how static the composition was, every thing disjointed and set apart. Overlap, was the one word I heard over and over at the IMC. We were told to always have our figures overlap one another. Now, by placing the sculpture behind Minerva and making him a few values darker, he has added importance to her. I will darken the easel and painting just a bit so Minerva is where your eye wants to go.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Amazon Changes

I had already said that the snakebeast would change as the painting progressed. Even in the early drawing stage, I saw that there was not enough action to hold your interest in this piece. So, now the snakebeast has an open mouth and a menacing eye. Also, I walked into the studio to work on it again and did not like the anatomy of her left leg, the one on the ground inside the snakebeast. As I write this, I am trying to remember the flesh on the dragons that Boris Vallejo did up at the Illustration Master Class last year. I am wishing now I had taken a closeup of that. He uses color like no one else.....I remember blues and pinks within the flesh and then lavendar and greens.......I will pay closer attention when I return to the IMC in June.

I still love my heavy doors behind the Amazon......taken from a photo of Stearns Steeple in Amherst. I did take the value down a notch by laying in a glaze over the entire building. This helped push the Amazon into the forefront. Your eye goes to her now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stretching Canvas

OK, I have my concept drawing, which will probably change as I get further into this painting. Someone once said, and I can't remember who it was or the exact phrase, but the essence was this, "Painting is a series of mistakes and problems you must correct or solve, until there are no more faults with your work" I have never really finished a painting I guess, I always see something else that needs adjusting.

So, I went to my stash of canvas on rolls for stretching and OMG, just like Mother Hubbard, my cupboard was bare. Actually, there are two rolls of canvas scraps behind the studio door. Stuff suitable for 8 x 10 or smaller paintings. MENTAL NOTE, REORDER WHEN YOU NOTICE YOU ARE LOW!
So, on the phone I ordered a 10 yard roll of Oil Primed Linen. It should arrive in 8 days. Until then, I am forced with completing several other projects that I should have completed months ago. Remember the Amazon.......I will work on that until my linen arrives.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Concept for Minerva

Here is my favorite photo of Rose, posed as Minerva and the concept drawing I did based on this photo. I eliminated the easel in favor of a palette leaning against the sculpture of The Thinker, by Rodin. My original idea was for her to be standing beside the sculpture with her chisel and hammer in hand, chipping away at the sculpture. But, once I saw this pose, that idea was thrown out. I have slightly shaded the background objects to remind me later that Rose is the focus and the other objects must become a part of the dark background. I just love her wistful look. If you like this costume, you will be surprised to know it was just a large piece of blue cloth wrapped and safety pinned in strategic spots over a bedsheet shift I created for Persephone. I think I will add "Master Costumer" to my resume.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Begining Minerva

I am spending this evening reviewing the photos I had taken this weekend of my model Rose. Rose has agreed to be Minerva, the Goddess of Art, Science and Wisdom. I hope to stretch a canvas tomorrow and begin on Thursday with some drawings. I did two pages of thumbnails in my IMC Sketchbook and have a clear idea of where I am going with this painting. I will try and post photos as the painting progresses.

I spent today at the Art League and my little re-enactor boy painting was juried into the show. There were over 500 entries this time. Oh! I took one of the fruit cakes I made yesterday and it was a big hit. It was totally gone before anything else on the table of cookies and cakes. Mom would be proud of me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fruit Cake is Christmas

This posting is for all the people out there who hate Fruit Cake.

As a child I hated Fruit Cake. But every year my mother worked so hard to find the money (we were poor in those days) for the ingredients for her Fruit Cakes. She spent an entire week, cutting up the nuts and fruits, since back in those days they did not come already cut up. She labored hard the night before, cutting the papers for the tins and then greasing them up with Crisco. On Fruit Cake day, I was pressed into service and helped her stir the thick unstirrable nut laden batter. My arms ached by dinner time. All this for some awful brick thing, she called cake.

When I left home in the 1970's my dad became the cake stirring servant. By this time, he had been through open heart surgery and subsequently retired. Now, mom had a nut and fruit mincer also. But, now she faced arthritis in her hands and sholders and making her fruitcakes was still an all week long affair that left her exhausted and frazzeled.

Mom is now unable to care for herself and no longer makes fruit cakes. As I get older, I try harder and harder to hold onto some of her Christmas Traditions. This week, I bought the fruits and nuts, greased the pans and paper liners, made the stiff batter and as I write this, I am baking 10 of mom's glorious fruit cakes. Somewhere along the way, I even came to love eating Fruit Cake. Merry Christmas and Hold Fast To Those Traditions!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Deer Roundup & Missing Socks

We pulled into our driveway the other evening to find 9 deer on our front lawn getting ready to bed down for the night. Since we don't hunt, we decided to play car cowboy roundup instead. We drove across the lawn herding the deer unsuccessfully. Four headed one way and five scattered in another direction. Keep in mind, we were creeping the car along, so as not to frighten them into the road. Most nights, we see their eyes in the dark, in our back field, which is too rough to herd deer in.
The kittens are in the hall fighting right now. Rockie, the larger of the two is crying out like a little girl. Such a baby when Monet gets the best of him. Just a few moments ago, Brett was putting on his socks and shoes. Rocky grabbed one of the socks from the floor and ran up the hall and under the sofa with it. Too Cute!